Thursday, November 6th 2008

Power and Innovation to Drive High-End GPUs in 2009

The year 2008 so far, has been very eventful for the graphics card market. A reinvigorated GPU lineup by ATI, brought in some fierce competition to NVIDIA, which resulted in a tug-of-war with pricing graphics cards in the market, with either company refusing to lose on grounds of pricing. This event, coupled with the announcement of several game titles by game publishers, resulted in bumper-sales of graphics cards, giving the present state of the global economy little or no relevance.

The months to come hold the same amount of importance for both AMD and NVIDIA, where the next round of competition begins with successors to current high-end products being slated. NVIDIA is expected to continue with its monolithic high transistor-count GPU design methodology, while AMD could bring in a little change to the way it uses two efficient GPUs to build powerful products.
The change AMD is planning on is using a Multi-Chip Module (MCM), a design similar to the one on Intel microprocessors, where Intel has been making some of its quad-core processors using two dual-core dice on an MCM. The module facilitates faster interconnection between the GPU cores, than if the cores were to communicate over a PCI-Express bridge chip, or using internal CrossFire ports. This would result in a single GPU with two dice, in essence, a dual-core GPU. The RV870 would be the first to support an MCM design, with unit cores featuring 25% more stream-processors than its predecessor, while upping the rated shader compute power to 1.5 TFLOP/s. In effect, it could feature a 512-bit GDDR5 memory bus, support DirectX 11, and OpenCL (Compute language, a GPGPU API). According to this projection, AMD could be out with a DirectX 11 GPU at least six months ahead of NVIDIA, although it remains to be seen if there are any games that come out that soon to take advantage of the technology. Between Q3 and Q4 2009, AMD could plan on a dual-MCM setup, bringing together two such cores with two unit cores each.

On to the green camp, and NVIDIA seems to have concrete plans to respond to AMD, with the GeForce GTX 270, and GeForce GTX 290 planned for this quarter. The two new SKUs are based on a 55nm silicon fabricated G200, the G200b, also known as GT206. Within this quarter itself, NVIDIA plans to prepare a dual-GPU card based on G200b cores, to lead its front. In Q1 2009, the company is planning its transit to the 40nm silicon process, with GT212. There’s little known about this chip, while GT216 in Q2 shows NVIDIA incorporating GDDR5 memory across a wide memory bus. This will also be the time when NVIDIA plans a dual-GPU card out of these chips. Finally in Q4, comes GT300, the next generation GPU from NVIDIA that brings in support for DirectX 11.

Year 2009 along with the rest of 2008, promise to be times when both graphics giants take computational power to the next level. It remains to be seen, if NVIDIA is able to deliver the punch, in order to rebuild whatever ground it lost to AMD, or if AMD goes for the kill with its innovation. Either way, these are good times for the buyers.
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41 Comments on Power and Innovation to Drive High-End GPUs in 2009

#1
Valdez
panchoman said:
wow, ati's got nothing to go against nvidia's huge q4 line up.. they are gonna get owned if they dont come up with something amazing in q1!
5870x2 will be a 4gpu card (2x2), truly a monster. I seriously doubt if nvidia can compete it with an 1 gpu card.
Posted on Reply
#2
jbunch07
Valdez said:
5870x2 will be a 4gpu card (2x2), truly a monster. I seriously doubt if nvidia can compete with it with an 1 gpu card.
you think they would call it a 5870 X4.
Posted on Reply
#3
panchoman
Sold my stars!
Valdez said:
5870x2 will be a 4gpu card (2x2), truly a monster. I seriously doubt if nvidia can compete it with an 1 gpu card.
who's to say that nvidia cant make a 280x4 and own the 5870x2? remember, nvidia is a bigger company that can sandbag really quickly.
Posted on Reply
#4
Valdez
panchoman said:
who's to say that nvidia cant make a 280x4 and own the 5870x2? remember, nvidia is a bigger company that can sandbag really quickly.
Nvidia is following the 1 big gpu scheme, the g200b gx2 is already a difficult birth.
Posted on Reply
#5
Valdez
jbunch07 said:
you think they would call it a 5870 X4.
Yes, you're right :)
Posted on Reply
#6
HaZe303
El Fiendo said:
I'm afraid nVidia's naming scheme has just managed to cause an aneurysm. I was completely lost 3 times over reading those names and I've always been proud of how I could follow that stuff. Ah well back to studying card line-ups for me.
I couldnt agree more!
Posted on Reply
#8
WarEagleAU
Bird of Prey
both are going to 40nm process which is awesome. I really hope AMD keeps their prices low with the change and Nvidia gets prices in the reasonable category.
Posted on Reply
#9
[I.R.A]_FBi
panchoman said:
who's to say that nvidia cant make a 280x4 and own the 5870x2? remember, nvidia is a bigger company that can sandbag really quickly.
sandbag means to go reallly slowly intentionally, like adding wieght (sandbags) to a racecar
Posted on Reply
#10
spearman914
Thats very informative. I should have been patient and saved my 500 USD for Q4,1,2
Posted on Reply
#11
PCpraiser100
Holy crap, DX11 is already rolling in at Q1? God help us all.
Posted on Reply
#13
InnocentCriminal
Resident Grammar Amender
[I.R.A]_FBi said:
sandbag means to go reallly slowly intentionally, like adding wieght (sandbags) to a racecar
I think he meant snowball... "... can snowball really quickly!"

For me, I want lower power consumption at the same speed as a 4870 or faster. Obviously a better performing card would be better and I can only assume that the 40nm die shrink will increase performance along with the other enhancements, but they really need to do something about the consumption.

I'll pick up a 1GB 5850 for sure, but it all comes down to the consumption really.
Posted on Reply
#16
[I.R.A]_FBi
they are to my knowledge die shrinks of the existing GTX 2XX's
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